• Network Rail

    Waterloo and South West Station Upgrade

    London, United Kingdom

Project Summary


Network Rail’s station capacity team, which measures and manages passenger movement through rail stations, faced a tough challenge when it was tasked with a GBP 800 million redesign of London’s Waterloo station. More than 100 million people move through the station each year – 125,000 during morning peaks alone – representing 3 percent of all rail users in the country. Before the project could begin, Network Rail needed to know how many people would move through the station during peak periods to determine how to reduce congestion and keep the rail system moving safely and efficiently. Additionally, Network Rail had to minimize the disruption to passenger movement during the six-week construction time frame.


Network Rail created a model of the entire station and simulated the movement of crowds during the morning and evening peak periods. The team manipulated the model to determine how crowd movement would be affected by any proposed design, including changes to the track and platforms. The model helped designers to predict where people would congregate and how they would move through the station, even those that don’t pay attention to directional signs, which would maximize safety. Network Rail also predicted foot traffic conditions during construction, and what elements of the station were important to keep open.


As a result of simulating foot traffic using a number of scenarios, Network Rail shortened the design process and optimized the final design to allow for steady passenger movement. Additionally, the passenger simulation was used to justify specific upgrades, such as wider staircases, in response to changing land use outside the station and to avoid costly revisions in the future. During construction, the station operations team were well briefed on what to expect, and the simulation helped determine that a secondary means of access to London’s Underground was not necessary. Construction was successfully completed without any problems caused by overcrowding.


All of Network Rail’s passenger movement simulation was carried out in LEGION Simulator. The organization built a model of the existing station as well as proposed alterations within the application to determine the impact on foot traffic and produce videos, heat maps, and graphs to show the implications of design decisions. Testing within OpenBuildings Station Designer and LEGION Simulator gave Network Rail confidence the station could still operate safely during construction. By the end of the project, Network Rail had used the software to create one of the largest, most complex models of people movement.

Project Playbook: LEGION

  • Network Rail had to predict passenger movement and ensure the GBP 800 million redesign of London’s Waterloo station would be as efficient and safe as possible, including during construction.
  • The company’s foot traffic model created in OpenBuildings Station Designer, which showed how over 100 million people move through the station a year, was one of the largest and most complex simulations created using the application.
  • The passenger simulation within LEGION Simulator also accounted for future land use outside the station and justified specific elements that would help future-proof the design.
  • “With large infrastructure changes it is easy to get lost in the delivery complexities. LEGION ensured that our team was able to prioritize passenger experience at the station during construction and ensured the final scheme delivered something we were confident in and was well-sized for future resilience.”

    Kyle Rosemary Adams Station Capacity Manager Network Rail